Sea Dragons and Other Monsters from the Deep


Sticky note…

Many of the links in this blog go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica for kids. This is accessible to all Wellington City Libraries users. But to access this wonderful resource, you’ll need to login using your library card number (on the back of your card) and 4 digit pin (last FOUR numbers of the phone number listed on your library account), and the link will take you straight there.


A 180-million-year-old “sea dragon” has been unearthed from the depths of an old reservoir in the United Kingdom – and it’s a massive find: It’s as long as a double-decker bus (around 9.7 metres) and just its skull alone weighs 907kg, which is almost as much as a the weight of a small car!

Palaeontologists say the discovery are the bones of the ichthyosaur (or Sea Dragon)  is an extinct reptile that lived in water. Its name means ‘fish lizard’. Ichthyosaurus belonged to a larger group of reptiles called ichthyosaurs. Ichthyosaurs were distant relatives of lizards and snakes. They were not dinosaurs.

Watch the palaeontologists work:

What’s the difference between reptiles and dinosaurs?

black and white lizard on gray concrete floor

Lizard: Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Dinosaurs lived around 66 million years ago. They are now extinct. Dinosaur were warm-blooded, whereas reptiles are cold-blooded animals. Both dinosaurs and reptiles hatch eggs and have scaly skin. However, the main difference between dinosaurs and reptiles is posture. Dinosaurs held their limbs directly under their bodies (like most mammals do) while reptiles, like lizards, have their limbs spread out sideways.

Do sea monsters exist today?

Free photo Tentacle Boats Kraken Boat Octopus Squid Monster - Max Pixel

Image: CC – Max Pixel free imagery

Hundreds of years ago, European sailors told of a sea monster called the kraken that could toss ships into the air with its many long arms. The legend may actually have originated from sightings of  the giant squid, which is a real living sea animal. It has 10 arms, can grow longer than a bus, and because it lives in deep oceans, has massive eyes. It’s only in recent years that these elusive creatures have been videoed alive, but you can see a deceased giant squid that has been preserved at the Colossal Squid (Te Ngū Tipua) exhibition at Te Papa.

Another mythical creature was called the Leviathan which is like a giant sea snake. Sea snakes are real animals, found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The longest can grow to about nine feet — almost as long as our ancient Sea Dragon fossil above. Although some of these snakes are venomous, they usually do not pose a threat to humans.

Loch Ness - UTGÅTT - Engelsk (SF vg1) (LK06) - NDLA

(CC BY-SA 4.0)

And of course, we can’t forget the Loch Ness Monster. The Loch Ness Monster (also referred to as Nessie) is a supposed animal, said to live in the Scottish loch of Loch Ness, the second biggest lake in Scotland. Most scientists believe that the Loch Ness Monster is not real, and they say that many of the sightings are either hoaxes or pictures of other mistaken existing animals.

Dig deeper with these cool links:

Paleontology and dinosaurs for kids

Marine biology facts for kids

Ocean facts!

Archaeology facts for kids

Octopus facts

The ocean’s weirdest creatures

Our Blue Planet: Exploring the alien world of brine pools (YouTube)


There are lots of books about sea monsters real and imagined in our library collection for you to read if you dare!

Monsters : 100 weird creatures from around the world / Banville, Sarah
“Ever wondered what terrorised the Scape Ore swamp in 1980s South Carolina? Or who visits the naughty children in Northern Europe to punish them on Christmas Eve? Or how bloated undead feeders got upgraded to a shape-shifting castle-dwelling Count? From well-known and well-feared monsters like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, to the lesser-known, but just as weird and wonderful Japanese Sea Serpent and Chinese Hopping Vampires, this book is the must-have guide to monsters from all over the world”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)
Monstrous : the lore, gore, and science behind your favorite monsters / Beccia, Carlyn
“Could Dr. Frankenstein’s machine ever animate a body? Why should vampires drink from veins and not arteries? What body parts are best for zombies to eat? (It’s not brains.) This fascinating encyclopedia of monsters delves into the history and science behind eight legendary creatures, from Bigfoot and the kraken to zombies and more. Find out each monster’s origin story and the real-world history that informed it, and then explore the science of each creature in fun and surprising ways. Tips and infographics—including monster anatomy, how to survive a vampire attack, and real-life giant creatures of the deep sea—make this a highly visual and fun-to-browse book.” (Catalogue)
Deep dive into deep sea / Flannery, Tim F.
“You might think you know about the ocean, but the deep sea is nothing like the beach. Things are weird down there. Who is the giant squid’s mortal enemy? Can you see ghosts in the deep sea? Why would a sea cucumber have teeth on its butt? And what on earth is a headless chicken monster?” (Catalogue)
Sea monster surprise / Stilton, Geronimo
“Bart Barnacle, the prehistoric pirate who has been visiting the cavemice, is ready to return to his pirate island home. It’s so far away that the Stiltonoots offer to accompany him on the long, treacherous journey over the sea. On the way, they encounter megalithic danger and hungry sea monsters! What an adventure!” (Catalogue)
The sea of monsters : the graphic novel / Venditti, Robert
“After discovering a secret that makes him question the honor of being the son of Poseidon, demi-god Percy Jackson journeys into the Sea of Monsters in an attempt to save Camp Half-Blood.” (Catalogue)
Nessie the Loch Ness monster / Brassey, Richard
“Fact or fiction? Whether or not you believe in the legendary tale from Loch Ness, this bestselling book is an essential part of British culture.” (Catalogue)
Sepron the sea serpent / Blade, Adam
Book 2 of the Beast Quest series. Sepron the Sea Serpent is a beast who protects the Western Ocean of Avantia. He is a long serpentine beast with green hair-like mane often compared to seaweed and a wide mouth lined with jagged fangs.
Twenty thousand leagues under the sea / Verne, Jules
“In the mid-nineteenth century, a French professor and his two companions, trapped aboard a fantastic submarine as prisoners of the deranged Captain Nemo, come face to face with exotic ocean creatures and strange sights hidden from the world above.” (Catalogue)
Ocean monsters / Davies, Nicola
“IExplore: Ocean Monsters is packed with fascinating information about the biggest, fiercest and strangest sea creatures, and is sure to inspire a sense of wonder and awe in nature. This book also brilliantly harnesses the wonders of AR to explore the world’s mysterious seas. Children can interact with dynamic sea creatures from the convenience of a tablet or smartphone.” (Catalogue)
Sea monsters : prehistoric creatures of the deep / Everhart, Michael J
“This book takes readers back in time – 82 million years ago – to when a massive sea divided North America, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico northward to Canada… giving us a glimpse of creatures like the sinuous Styxosauras, whose serpentine neck weighed more than a ton, or the fierce 40-foot Tylosaurus, the undisputed top predator of the time.” (Catalogue, abridged)
Miss Kraken / Greenberg, Nicki
“The minute we saw Miss Kraken, we all knew it was going to be a bad year. She’s cranky. She’s strict. She’s just plain . . . weird. Miss Kraken is definitely not the teacher the kids were hoping for. But she might have a surprise or two up her sleeves. A hilarious tale of bad behaviour and unexpected consequences.” (Catalogue)
The Kiwi fossil hunter’s handbook / Crampton, J. S.
“New Zealand has a rich fossil record, which is accessible to the amateur fossil-hunter in locations around New Zealand, including shells and plant remains, as well as the bones, teeth and other remnants of ancient reptiles, birds and fish. This handy pack-sized guide features 30 accessible locations around the country where kids and their families can find fossils. Each location contains specific information on where to look and what to look for, as well as the geological background and other details of each site, and colour images of fossils that could be found there” (Catalogue)
Whiti : colossal squid of the deep / Cleal, Victoria
“The colossal squid has been the most popular exhibit at Te Papa since it arrived there in 2007. Now this appealing book for young readers tells the fascinating story of these creatures from the deep, through sparkling and informative text and amazing illustrations. A must-have natural history book for young readers and their whānau and teachers”(Catalogue)

Hairy Maclary from a Donaldson’s Dairy

“Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy…”

Sound familiar? That’s because the Hairy Maclary series, written and illustrated by Lynley Dodd, is one of New Zealand’s (and the world’s) best-loved picture books. Who can’t love that cheeky wee dog, Hairy Maclary, and all his furry mates – from Bottomley Potts (covered in spots), to the villain of many books, Scarface Claw!

But did you know that Scotland has claimed these books as their own?  “WHAT?? How can that be?” we hear you cry!

Although the Hairy Maclary series are peppered with loads of New Zealand references such as the word “dairy” (this would be called a “corner shop” in Scottish lingo), and illustrations with cabbage trees, Pōhutukawa, ponga trees and flax, the name “Maclary” is a decidedly Scottish-sounding name!

What’s in a name?

Scottish and Irish  surnames frequently have the prefix Mac or Mc. When these surnames were originally developed, they were formed by adding the Gaelic word mac, which means son of, to the name of the original bearer’s father. For example, the surname MacDougall literally means son of Dougall.

File:United Kingdom labelled map7.png

Image: Matt Lewis, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Where is Scotland anyway?

Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom (UK) and occupies the northern third of Great Britain. Scotland’s mainland shares a border with England to the south. Scotland also has almost 800 islands, including some famous ones like Shetland (known for its sheep and complicated knitting patterns), Orkney (known for its prehistoric sites), and Skye (known for its history and beautiful scenery).

See if you can find Scotland on a world map HERE

Who is Lynley Dodd?

Lynley Dodd is an internationally celebrated writer for children. She wavs born in Rotorua and now lives in Tauranga. Lynley graduated from the Elam School of Art in Auckland with a diploma in Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture. She went on to teach art before taking a break to start a family. She began to work as a freelance illustrator and illustrated another popular picture book My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes by Eve Sutton. There was no looking back as Lynley went on to write and illustrate her own books for children. These include the Hairy Maclary series (of course!), The Nickle Nackle Tree, The Smallest Turtle

Who is Hairy Maclary?

File:Hairy Maclary and Friends Sculpture.jpg

Image: Hairy Maclary and Friends Sculpture in Tauranga (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hairy Maclary (or ‘HM’ for short) is a small hairy dog created by  Lynley Dodd. HM can be described as a ‘bitser’, which means he’s of mixed breed. “Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy” was first published in 1983 and the series has gone on to sell over 5 million copies worldwide. HM’s adventures are usually in the company of his other animal friends and he’s depicted as a friendly, but lively little dog that gets into a lot of mischief. There is now a series of 12 books and a further nine books about his friends, all with catchy rhyming stories and realistic, colourful and fun illustrations.

In recognition of the success of these books, a sculpture of Hairy Maclary and other characters from the books was officially unveiled on the waterfront in Tauranga in 2015, the city where Lynley Dodd lives.


If you haven’t discovered the wonders of Hairy Maclary and his equally hairy mates, why not add these to you Summer Reading Adventure lists and enjoy some good ole Kiwi reading fun:

Hairy Maclary treasury : the complete adventures of Hairy Maclary / Dodd, Lynley
“A collection of ten stories featuring the mischief and mayhem of Hairy Maclary.” (Catalogue)
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy / Dodd, Lynley
“A small black dog and his canine friends are terrorized by the local tomcat.” (Catalogue)


The nickle nackle tree / Dodd, Lynley
“In the Manglemunching Forest there’s a Nickle Nackle tree, Growing Nickle Nackle berries that are red as red can be. And that’s not all that’s nestling on the twisty branches of this laden tree. Count up some fabulous Lynley Dodd creations, such as one Ballyhoo bird, kicking up a din and two squawking Scritchet birds with legs so twiggy thin, to nine friendly Natter birds, building nice new nests to ten fussy Fissick birds in yellow feathered vests”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)


Hairy Maclary’s caterwaul caper / Dodd, Lynley
“Hairy Maclary leads all the other dogs in the neighbourhood to investigate the terrible caterwauling created when the tough cat Scarface Claw is caught up in a tree.” (Catalogue)
The life and art of Lynley Dodd / Macdonald, Finlay
“Dame Lynley Dodd is New Zealand’s best known author and illustrator of children’s books. Her career was launched in 1973 with the publication of My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes, which she collaborated on with cousin Eve Sutton. Other picture books soon followed and in 1983 the world famous Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy was launched. Hairy Maclary’s success placed Dodd in the international spotlight and the Hairy Maclary and Friends series is today one of the world’s most successful series of picture books. The Life and Art of Lynley Dodd is a beautiful full-colour hardback telling the story of Lynley’s early years, time at art school, teaching career, marriage and success as a children’s author. The book is a pictorial history as much as a written one, and as such includes photos of the author’s early years as well as the artwork she produced as she moved towards her world-renowned style – art school pieces, early political cartoons and illustrations for the correspondence school among others.” (Catalogue, abridged)

My cat likes to hide in boxes / Sutton, Eve
“Cats from many different countries may like to do all kinds of strange things, but my cat, an ordinary round-the-house cat, likes to hide in boxes.” (Catalogue)
Scotland / Harman, Alice
“This series provides an introduction to the study of the United Kingdom for young children as the illustrated ‘Fact Cat’ character leads the reader on a trail through the book, helping them to discover answers to key questions.” (Catalogue)
Encyclopedia of surnames / Ayto, John
“The Encyclopedia of Surnames is not just another dictionary! With entertaining coverage of more than 7,000 surnames listed alphabetically, it provides a complete and accessible companion to tracing the history of names.” (Catalogue, abridged)

 

 

Magazines for Kids: In Print and Online

You might have a stack of books waiting for you to read, but sometimes flicking through a magazine is enough! They are colourful, have interesting bytes of info, and if you want to delve further, there are always more in-depth articles for you to read.

Wellington City Libraries have loads of kids’ mags for you to browse and issue – both as hard copies and online. There is something in the catalogue to cater for every taste. There are also a number of ways you can access these magazines. It’s as easy as tahi-rua-toru!

  1. Selected hard copies of kids’ mags are available at all our branch libraries… come in and have a rummage! Kids’ mags are free to issue on a child’s or young adult card, and are issued for ONE week.
  2. The latest issues of kids’ e-mags are available on OVERDRIVE or LIBBY to borrow using your library card. You can then read them on your device at your leisure.
  3. Have you checked out Press Reader? This is an online newspaper and magazine database that is free for Wellington City Libraries patrons to use, and has a great selection of kids’ mags for you to browse online.

Here’s just a small selection to whet your magazine appetite:

You might like a little bit of everything, why not try:

Overdrive cover K-Zone

It’s jam-packed with fun including movie news, gaming goss, comics and stacks of puzzles, quizzes, activities and posters. Every issue is themed around something special, be it superheroes, videogames or even K-Zoner favourites like pranks and jokes. (Overdrive description)

If tech and gaming is where it’s at for you:

Minecraft world magazine.
“Minecraft World is the essential monthly guide to the planet’s best videogame: Minecraft! In each issue, we’ll be keeping you bang up to date with what’s happening in Minecraft, as well as sharing secrets, essential tips, advice and the very latest news. We’ll be also serving up brilliant Minecraft constructions, expert hints, answering your questions, and packing page after page with as much as we possibly can about the game! Whether you’re playing Minecraft on a computer, a portable device or a games console, Minecraft World is going to be your essential independent guide to getting as much out of the game as possible. And none of the game’s monsters will be safe from us either.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Scratch: Learn to program the easy way,

“Anyone can code. Certainly, writing the next Minecraft or programming complex simulations from scratch will require a deeper knowledge, but anyone and everyone has the potential to learn some basic coding skills, then take those skills and write a simple program. […]

The projects in this magazine are fun, so that kids and adults will enjoy making them, and playing them once they are done. They are also easy to customise, so that novice programmers can take what we have put together, change it and make their own mark.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Fun ideas for preschoolers:

Overdrive cover DOT Magazine,

“Aimed at preschoolers, DOT carries stories and games all aimed to foster imagination, creativity and fun in children aged 5 and under.” (Overdrive description)

You want to know how this big, beautiful planet works?

National geographic kids.
“National Geographic Kids magazine – the perfect balance between learning and fun! A must-have for children ages 6 and up. Each issue is packed with colorful photos, games, puzzles, fun features and facts about animals, science, technology, and more.” (Catalogue)

National Geographic little kids.
“National Geographic Little Kids magazine – perfect for children ages 3 to 6. Irresistible photos and simple text to enhance early reading experiences, along with games, puzzles, and activities, that turn playtime into learning time.” (Catalogue)

Is current affairs your interest?

Overdrive cover The Week Junior

“The Week Junior is a brilliant current affairs magazine for children aged between 8 and 14. It’s filled with fascinating stories and information, written to engage curious young minds and encourage them to explore and understand the world around them.” (Overdrive description)

What about animals and pets?

Overdrive cover Animal Tales

“Animal Tales is a children’s animal and poster magazine perfect for animal-loving kids between the ages of six and twelve. It’s filled with heart-warming animal stories, articles that will educate, and an extensive fun and games section- plus a series of six collectible animal posters will be included in each issue.” (Overdrive description)

Are you keen to know how everything works?

How it works.
“Welcome to How It Works, the magazine that explains everything you never knew you wanted to know about the world we live in. Loaded with fully illustrated guides and expert knowledge, and with sections dedicated to science, technology, transportation, space, history and the environment, no subject is too big or small for How It Works to explain.” (Catalogue)

Or maybe the stars and universe is your jam:

Overdrive cover Astronomy for Kids,

“Get 200+ astronomy facts, activities, & fun for kids exclusively from Astronomy magazine.This 100 page special issue includes engaging and fun articles, hands-on STEM activities, and even a 12-page comic by Michael Bakich, Astronomy Senior Editor and longtime planetarium educator.” (Overdrive description)

Does ancient Egypt really interest you?

Overdrive cover All About History Book Of Ancient Egypt

“All About History is the stunningly realised new magazine from the makers of How It Works and All About Space. Featuring beautiful illustrations, photos and graphics depicting everything from ancient civilisations to the Cold War, All About History is accessible and entertaining to all and makes history fun for the whole family.” (Overdrive description)

 

 

Public Holidays: Why Do We Have Them?

Apart from school holidays, there are other holidays in New Zealand that everyone gets to enjoy – even the adults! These are called Public Holidays and they must be enacted into law under the Holidays Act 2003 to be official public holidays.

aerial photography of city beside body of water during daytimeWellington Anniversary Day is regional holiday celebrated on the fourth Monday in January. The holiday commemorates the arrival of the first settler ship to New Zealand on 22 January 1840.

But there are also public holidays that are observed throughout New Zealand. Starting with the national holiday that’s coming up very soon (Labour Day), here’s a list all of New Zealand’s official holidays:

Labour Day – 4th Monday of October

Labour Day falls on the fourth Monday of October, so in 2021 it will be on Monday 25 October. New Zealand Labour Day is a holiday commemorating the fight for an eight-hour working day and New Zealand’s first Labour Day holiday was celebrated in 1890. Before that, often a working day could be very long with only a half-day or one day off a week.

According to NZHistory, the changes were started by a Wellington carpenter called Samuel Parnell. The story goes that Purnell was hired by a shipping agent, who commissioned him to construct a new store for him. Parnell agreed-but stipulated some terms of his own. He is famously said to have answered:

“There are twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for me to do what little things they want for themselves.”

Christmas Day and Boxing Day – 25 and 26 December

Christmas Day is an important festival in the Christian Calendar where they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – a pivotal deity in the Christian faith. Christmas in New Zealand is less about snow and sleigh bells and more about sun, sand and barbecues in the backyard! The name Boxing Day comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor, their servants and tenant farmers.

New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s Day – 1 and 2 January

Due to its geographical position close to the International Date Line, New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to welcome in a new calendar year.

Waitangi Day – 6 February

Waitangi Day marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation. The first Waitangi Day was not celebrated until 1934, and it was made a national public holiday in 1974.

Good Friday & Easter Monday

Easter is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon that lands on or just after the spring equinox. Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Christmas Day and Boxing Day, above).

Anzac Day – 25 April

Anzac Day, for both Australians and New Zealanders, first started in 1916 to commemorate those that were killed in the World War 1 (“The Great War”). Now we remember  all New Zealanders and Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. There are dawn remembrance services all around the country which New Zealanders old and young are attend. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

Queen’s Birthday – Second Monday in June

The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Arthur Phillip, Governor of New South Wales (Australia), declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the king of Great Britain. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch, but, after King George V died, it was decided to keep the date on the second Monday in June.

Matariki 2022

This will be a new public holiday from June 2022! New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a public holiday from 24 June 2022. The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar).

 


New Zealand’s history and how it’s public holidays came about, is a fascinating thing. Why not check out:

Labour Day / Boon, Kevin
“Outlines the history of the eight-hour working day in New Zealand and the role of Samuel Parnell in bringing this about. Looks at working conditions and labour relations in New Zealand, including sweatshops, the 1890 maritime strike, the Waihi Miners’ strike of 1912, the Great Strike of 1913, and the 1951 waterfront dispute.” (Catalogue)

The house that Jack built / Bishop, Gavin
“Uses the cumulative nursery rhyme, about the chain of events that started when Jack built a house, as a metaphor to illustrate the arrival and settlement of the European settlers in New Zealand during the early 19th century. Includes references to Maori folklore.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated history of New Zealand / Stenson, Marcia
Contents include: How we know about the past — Land of birds — Arrival of the Māori — Māori settlement — European explorers — Sealing, whaling, timber and trade — Missionaries and musket wars — Treaty of Waitangi — Pioneer settlers — Gold — Conflict between the races — Political changes — Changing ways of earning a living — Fighting outside New Zealand — Bad times and the role of the government — Disasters — Changes in our lives — Changes in Māori lives — Some of our heroes and heroines — How has human occupation affected New Zealand? (Catalogue)

Running the country : a look inside New Zealand’s government / Gill, Maria
“From the Bill of rights to the way we vote, from parliamentary headquarters to local council – and everything in between – Maria Gill explains our system of government. You will discover facts about laws, our currency, voting at the elections and the role of the media. There are fascinating profiles of New Zealand leaders, illustrated by cartoonist Malcolm Evans, along with photographs, amazing statistics and useful “google this” internet links to find out more. This revised edition brings us right up to the new Labour Government of October 2017 (in coalition with New Zealand First and The Green Party).” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Dual-language, flip-book, graphic-novel-style non-fiction about about the Treaty of Waitangi developed for a general audience” (Catalogue)

Christian church / Wood, Angela
“What is a church for? Who is Jesus? What is the Bible? What happens in a church service? All these questions and more are explored in this first introduction to the religion of Christianity. The We Worship Here series introduces children aged 6+ to the main religions of the world. Each book features information about beliefs, values and the ways people worship. The books are clearly and sensitively written, checked by expert consultants and the text is supported with beautiful illustrations.” (Catalogue)

If I ran the country / Knight, Rich
“Congratulations! You’ve just become the leader of your own country! There are a lot of decisions to be made, and not long to make them. The good news is you’ve got your hands on this funny, fact-packed book, covering everything you need to know to rule effectively – no matter where in the world you are. But it’s not just about political systems, elections, climate change, justice and all those other things we hear politicians talking about. You also need to learn how to lead. With essential life and leadership skills and tips – from teamwork, confidence and compassion to discovering who you are and what you believe in – If I Ran The Country answers all the questions most often posed by first-time top dogs like you. You’ll be ruling like a pro in no time!” (Catalogue)

Horrible Christmas / Deary, Terry
“The complete horrible history of Christmas tells tales from the dark days when the Puritans tried to abolish Christmas, to Christmas in the trenches when the British and Germans traded bullets for footballs. Plus dreadful jokes, rotten recipes, and a Christmas quiz!” (Catalogue)

Celebrating Matariki / MacGregor, Jill
“In New Zealand, Mataraki is a time to remember ancestors and traditions of long ago. Maori iwi celebrate Matariki in different ways at different times. Tamarau and his friends share some ideas and activities for celebrating Mataraki.” (Catalogue)

Dawn of the twentieth century / Boon, Kevin
“Tracks key events in the first decades of the twentieth century as New Zealand became a more distinctive and independent society. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Waitangi Day : the New Zealand story : what it is and why it matters / Werry, Philippa
“Reviews the historic events behind the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and charts the celebrations, tensions and protests witnessed in the years that followed, concluding with a summary of the Waitangi Day events held around the country on 6th February today” (Catalogue)

Get crafty these holidays with CRAFTerHolidays2Go!

School holidays are here, and if you’re missing our usual array of library programmes during the break at COVID Alert Level 2, why not get your ‘crafty fingers’ working with our CRAFTerHolidays2Go take-away packs available from some of our branch libraries?

Johnsonville and Tawa Libraries

No photo description available.

These CRAFTerHolidays2Go packs are a follow-on from the ever-popular CRAFTerschool sessions which are offered every Monday (Tawa Library) and Wednesday (Johnsonville Library) after school during term time during Covid Alert Level 1.

These packs are a lucky dip of at least three separate activities that you can make, cook, sew, knit, fly, experiment with or puzzle over. Each sheet also features a QR code that can link you to the activity sheet’s specific craft book on our catalogue, just in case you want to do more activities from that book.

There’s also a SIT ‘N’ KNIT pom-pom making pack, and a How-to sheet for submitting your poems to Tūhono 2021, our annual poetry journal for children and teens.

So pop into the Johnsonville or Tawa Libraries over the holidays and pick up your packs!

Te Awe Library

May be an illustration of text that says "ΟωΙ Wings Decorate Cut out Attach wings feet tobody with paper tasteners. ners Atta +o legs Dinos Co ag tail spines"

The ‘crafty’ librarians at Te Awe Library are working on a variety of CRAFTerHolidays2Go packs too – these include a movable paper animals kit with card template, paper fasteners and googly eyes; and there is also a collage kit and an activity pack with wordfinds and crosswords. All available 2Go from Te Awe Library in the CBD on Brandon St.

Newtown Library

Also, come on down to Newtown Library and help yourself to a small bag of crafty goodies! If you’re looking for ideas on what to create, check out the Newtown Library Facebook page, where some of our librarians are posting some easy craft ideas for you to follow along with. Share your creations with your local librarian and be in to win some cool school holiday prizes!

Wellington City Libraries online

Wellington City Libraries also have a huge array of interesting ‘stuff’ for you to watch and do on You Tube. So jump on now and have a browse HERE

Or you could check out the Kids’ FUN STUFF on the Wellington City Libraries website for more games, craft ideas, printables and puzzles HERE


For further inspo, why not check out these virtual CRAFTerschool clips:

 


Wellington City Libraries have you covered for all things ‘crafty’ with lots of books and resources to help you on your way. Check out the NON-FICTION Dewey 745 – 750 sections and unleash your creativity:

Easy arts & crafts for kids : 50 fun projects to make, wear, and share / Perkins, Jennifer
“A collection of 50 craft projects that require little supervision and can be made with materials you can find at home.” (Catalogue)

Maker camp : heritage crafts and skill-building projects for kids / Holton-Fessler, Delanie
“Classic and innovative hands-on projects for kids ages 3 and up designed to teach both heritage skills and how to think creatively. The 20+ projects in this book weave a story of human innovation and creativity, from the very beginnings of building shelters in the woods to tinkering with recycled materials. Heritage skills teach children how to be independent and capable makers; fibre and wood projects offer rewarding crafts that also teach planning, preparation, and safe risk taking; and tinkering activities connect the low-tech process of making and doing with innovation.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Art sparks : draw, paint, make, and get creative with 53 amazing projects! / Abrams, Marion
“This lively, colourful compendium of arts and crafts for a new generation of kids features projects specially designed to spark creativity, invite self-expression, and nurture self-confidence. From finger puppets to fabric flags to shrink art, each activity uses inexpensive materials and can be crafted in less than 90 minutes.” (Catalogue)

Stitch + string lab for kids : 40+ creative projects to sew, embroider, weave, wrap and tie / Stephens, Cassie
“With 40+ inventive projects, Stitch and string lab for kids contains everything from simple sewing, embroidery, and weaving to string art, needle felting, and yarn crafts!” (Catalogue)

Drawing aliens, spacecraft, and other stuff beyond the galaxy : 4D an augmented reading drawing experience / Cella, Clara
“For budding artists who won’t be confined to subjects here on Earth, Drawing Aliens, Spacecraft, and Other Stuff Beyond the Galaxy delivers high-interest projects with step-by-step instructions and special 4D support. Projects increase in difficulty from the first to the last to strengthen drawing skills and confidence. Download the Capstone 4D app for an augmented reality experience that extends learning beyond the printed page with artist video tutorials and other bonus content.” (Catalogue)

Crafting fun for kids of all ages : pipe cleaners, paint & pom-poms galore, yarn & string & a whole lot more / Uliana, Kim
“In Crafting Fun for Kids of All Ages, blogger Kim Uliana offers 200 entertaining, versatile, and easy-to-assemble arts and crafts projects for any occasion. Make glittery snowflakes and thumbprint ornaments during the holidays, create straw hats and button sunflowers for summer vacation, or decorate personalized bookmarks for back-to-school.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Epic graphic novel crafts / Jones, Jen
“Whether you flip left to right or right to left, this collection of crafts will call upon your favourite comics, manga, or graphic novels! Re-live adventures and far-out tales with these larger-than-life crafts.” (Catalogue)

Te Wiki Kaumātua – Across Generations

toddler, hand, holding, elder, person, hand holding, hold, care, help, elderly, old, senior, aged, aging, people, hope, respect, women, young, concepts, giving, friendship, support, generation, love, skin, closeup, patient, touching, up, color, two, adult, isolated, human, thumb, unity, symbol, finger, grandparent, living, caucasian, female, family, togetherness, nursing, hospital, mature, grandmother, conceptual, wrinkled, human Hand, close-up, child, teamwork, females, assistance, part Of, caucasian Ethnicity, human body part, bonding, body part, parent, positive emotion, family with one child, mother, focus on foreground, daughter, 2K

Image: Piqsels public domain photography

Seniors Week 2021 (Te Wiki Kaumātua) is from 1 – 8 October. This year’s theme is “Across Generations” which is focusing on ways to connect people from all generations and backgrounds around Wellington. the start date for Seniors’ Week is significant too as 1 October is International Day of Older Persons.

Do you have elderly grandparents or great-grandparents, or even an elderly neighbour you can connect with? Maybe you could record their stories to help keep their traditions alive. Our Kaumātua are a rich treasure house of lifetime experiences that are hugely significant. They are our history. This week is a great opportunity to listen to their stories, learn something about their experiences, and reconnect with them.

In Māori culture, Kaumātua are held in very high esteem.  They have a variety of roles in their whānau (wider family), hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe):

  • Being the storehouses of tribal knowledge and traditions
  • Acting as guardians of tikanga (Māori customs)
  • Nurturing children – traditionally kaumātua looked after children while their parents worked or went away to fight, and often brought up the first grandchild
  • Providing leadership
  • Helping resolve disputes.

If you want to explore your family history further, Wellington City Libraries have some great databases that can be accessed using your library card. Just jump onto the Hītori / History page HERE


Why not immerse yourself in some books featuring elders:

What’s happening to grandpa? / Shriver, Maria
“Kate has always adored her grandpa’s storytelling – but lately he’s been repeating the same stories again and again. One day he even forgets Kate’s name. Her mother’s patient explanations open Kate’s eyes to what so many of the elderly must confront: Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss. With special insight derived from her own father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, Maria Shriver offers a touching and optimistic story that encourages awareness, acceptance, and dialogue among family and friends.” (Catalogue)
Wrinkles / JR
“This first-ever picture book by internationally acclaimed artist-photographer JR allows young readers to consider the lives and stories of the older people around them. Memories, experiences, and emotions are touched on in a welcoming way, creating the perfect conversation-starter between children and their elders. Evocative black-and-white photographs of faces and simple, poignant read-aloud text consider the literal and lyrical meaning of wrinkles, leaving readers of all ages with a well-justified appreciation of aging and natural beauty.” (Catalogue)

A plan for Pops / Smith, Heather
“In this illustrated picture book, a child helps their grandparents deal with a difficult change in abilities.” (Catalogue)
The lines on Nana’s face / Ciraolo, Simona
“It’s granny’s birthday, but her little granddaughter wonders why, because of the lines on her face, she looks so worried! But they are simply wrinkles, and grandma is very fond of her lines because they are where she keeps her memories.” (Catalogue)
My nanna is a ninja / Young, Damon
“All nannas are different. But what if your nanna was really different? What if your nanna was a ninja?”(Catalogue)
A hat for Mrs. Goldman : a story about knitting and love / Edwards, Michelle
“Sophia knits a special hat for her elderly neighbour and knitting teacher, Mrs. Goldman. When Sophia was a baby, Mrs. Goldman knitted a tiny baby hat to keep her warm. Last year, she taught Sophia how to knit. Now Sophia wants to knit a special hat for Mrs. Goldman. And she wants to do it all by herself!” (Catalogue)
Birdsong / Flett, Julie
“When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art. As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett’s textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfilment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions.” (Catalogue)

Love you forever / Munsch, Robert N.
“Robert Munsch’s beloved tale is gentle affirmation of the love a parent feels for her child — forever. Nurtured by the unconditional love of his parent, a boy grows happily through the stages of childhood to become, in turn, a loving adult.” (Catalogue)
Whakarongo ki o Tupuna = Listen to your ancestors / Darryn, Joseph
“As a wise teacher grows older, she encourages her students to learn from the example of famous ancestors. She gives the next generation simple messages of days gone by: getting out into nature, letting go of anger, anxiety and stress, and standing strong and tall” (Catalogue)

Awesomely Austen series: kick-start your love of Jane Austen novels

A drawn image of a young women in Georgian-era dress with an umbrella and elbow-length gloves, checking the time on a pocket watch.

Image: Free vintage drawing of 1802 women’s fashion law, Licence CCO Public Domain

At some point in your school life you’ll be asked to read and study a Jane Austen novel. It’ll happen. Yes, really! These books are considered classics but the language used in the stories, and the way the characters behave is often quite different to what you find in our modern society. That’s because Jane Austen was born in England a long time ago – in 1775 – and her novels reflect the society she grew up in. This was a time when English society was sharply divided by wealth and women were expected to marry young (often in their teens).

Jane grew up in a family of seven children. Her dad was a clergyman, so the family was well-respected in their local community. This meant that Jane could observe their society, especially the role women played in it, and write about it – often in a witty and humorous way.  Sadly, her novels were not widely read or praised in her lifetime (Jane only lived to the age of 41), but they are now and have gone on to inspire countless poems, books, plays and films.

Why read the Awesomely Austen series?

The Awesomely Austen series are a fresh, funny and accessible retelling of Jane Austen’s well-known stories, all with black and white illustrations throughout.  The language is fun and easy to read and, even though the books still follow the plot of the original novels, the writing is modern, understandable and makes the characters very relatable. There’s also a family tree of main characters in the front of each book to help you with who’s who, and some interesting facts about the era the book was written in in the back.

All six of Jane Austen’s books have been retold in this fun series:

Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice / Woodfine, Katherine
“Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest in a family of five daughters. Although their mother is very keen to see them all married to wealthy men, Elizabeth is determined that she will only ever marry for love. At a ball, Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy, who at first she believes is proud and haughty. But perhaps there is more to him than first meets the eye.” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Persuasion / Dhami, Narinder
“When she was just 19, Anne Elliot followed the wishes of her father and turned down the proposal of the man she loved – a naval officer called Frederick Wentworth. Years later, Captain Wentworth returns from his time at sea, and Anne dares to hope that their paths might cross once more. But the course of true love is bumpy at best – will Anne and Frederick ever be reunited?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Emma / Birchall, Katy
“Emma Woodhouse is pretty, clever and rich, and sees no reason why she would ever need to get married. But she loves matchmaking for her neighbours, despite the advice of her friend Mr Knightley, who warns her against meddling. Her latest success – the wedding of her governess – makes her certain that she can find the right match for anyone. Can Emma’s lucky streak continue? Or will best laid plans unravel as they always seem to do?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Sense and sensibility / Nadin, Joanna
“When Elinor and Marianne Dashwood’s father dies, they are forced to leave their home behind and move far away to a tiny cottage. Their lives look set to change for ever, in ways neither had expected. Elinor must leave behind the man she loves, whereas Marianne falls for their charming – but entirely unsuitable – new neighbour. The sisters will need each other’s support if they are to find happiness, but will they ever find the right balance of sense and sensibility?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park / Malik, Ayisha
“Fanny Price is one of nine children, and her family are very poor. So when a distant relative offers to take her in – giving her the opportunity to grow up wealthy and comfortable – her parents jump at the chance. But money doesn’t always bring happiness, and Fanny struggles to settle into her new home, where the family are very cold towards her. Her only friend amongst them is Edmund, who tries his best to help her be happy. As she grows up, Fanny realises that Edmund is the most important person in her life. But will he ever see her as more than the timid little girl who arrived at his home so many years before?” (Catalogue)

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey / Butler, Steven
“Catherine Morland loves nothing more than reading a romantic novel, but as one of ten children she doesn’t have much time for reading or for romance. When she is seventeen, her wealthy neighbours invite her to spend the winter season with them in Bath – to experience balls, the theatre and other social delights for the first time. Catherine makes friends with the passionate Isabella, and dances with a handsome man called Henry, and it seems that all her dreams are coming true. But real life doesn’t always play out like a novel, and Catherine will have to overcome many obstacles before she can find her happy ending …” (Catalogue)

Bee Aware – Feed the Bees This September

Feed the bees! banner courtesy of Apiculture NZ

September is “Bee Aware Month” in New Zealand. For Bee Aware Month 2021, we are being asked to ‘Feed the Bees’ by planting bee-friendly trees and plants.

According to Apiculture NZ, who look after bees and beekeepers in Aotearoa, “planting for bees is a fantastic way to look after nature’s tiniest superheroes as they keep our gardens, food crops and native bush growing.” As they busily buzz around the plants and flowers looking for food for themselves and their hives, they also help to pollinate the plants so that fruit, veges and crops continue to grow and thrive. Humans simply cannot survive without these amazing insects to keep our food on the table. Superheroes indeed!

Some plants are better sources of nectar and pollen than others.  And some plants produce nectar and pollen at times when there is not a lot else around for bees to feed on.

Don’t know what to plant? Some awesome ideas from Apiculture NZ include plants such as rosemary, sunflowers, harakeke, and citrus fruits!

bunch of sunflowers



Want to find out more?

Here’s a bee-friendly gardening guide to get you started

Learn about bees

Products made by bees

Fun activities and competitions

The Bee Aware BIG BEE QUIZ

The Bee Aware month Art Competition


And yes, you guessed it, Wellington City Libraries have got LOADS of books crammed full of facts about bees, gardening for bees and fiction bee books… so we’ve included some suggestions for you and the adults in your lives:

BEE BOOKS FOR KIDSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The secret life of bees / Butterfield, Moira
“Did you know that bees love to dance? Or that they have an amazing sense of smell to help them find the best flowers? In The Secret Life of Bees, Buzzwing shares with you all the details of her life as a bee, in and out of the hive, starting with the day she was born.” (Catalogue)
The book of bees / Socha, Piotr
“How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Did you know that Napoleon loved bees? Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees? This book answers all these questions and many more, tracking the history of bees from the time of the dinosaurs to their current plight.” (Catalogue)
Sunflower shoots and muddy boots : a child’s guide to gardening / Halligan, Katherine
“Packed with brilliant indoor and outdoor gardening activities, this is the perfect introduction to growing plants for little children and grown-ups to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)
Give bees a chance / Barton, Bethany
“In this nonfiction picture book an enthusiastic bee-loving narrator tries to convince a bee-phobic friend that our fuzzy, flying neighbours are our friends– we should all give bees a chance!” (Catalogue)
Why do we need bees? / Daynes, Katie
“Why do we need bees? How do they make honey? And who’s who in a beehive? Children can find the answers to these questions and many more in this informative lift-the-flap book. With colourful illustrations, simple text and chunky flaps to lift, young children can discover lots of amazing facts about bees and why they need our help.” (Catalogue)
The very clever bee / Marshall, Felicity
“A non-fiction illustrated book about bees, their life-cycle, pollination, and benefits for humans. Written for children 6 years and upwards.” (Catalogue)
How to bee / MacDibble, Bren
“Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony’s grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe. How To Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.” (Catalogue)


BEE BOOKS FOR ADULTSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The bee friendly garden : easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow / Purdie, Doug
“A grower’s handbook to attracting bees and other beneficial insects. The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners great and small to encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space…Includes: – How bees forage and why your garden needs them – A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants – Simple changes anybody can make – Ideas for gardens of all sizes – Natural pest control and companion planting advice.” (Catalogue)


Planting for honeybees : the grower’s guide to creating a buzz / Lewis, Sarah Wyndham
“Our gardens would be unrecognizable without the gentle buzz of the humble honeybee. Yet in recent years bee populations have suffered from th loss of green spaces and need our help. Planting for Honeybees is a charmingly illustrated, practical guide on how to help attract these delightful pollinators – whether you only have a city window ledge or a whole country garden. With advice on the blooms to grow, and when and where to plant them, this book reveals the tips and tricks to creating a buzz and a better future for our apian friends.” (Catalogue)

The history of bees / Lunde, Maja
“In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees–and to their children and one another–against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis. England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive–one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity” (Catalogue)

The beekeeper of Aleppo / Lefteri, Christy
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.” (Catalogue)

Conservation Week 2021: 4 – 12 September

Conservation Week: Get involved

Conservation Week 2021. Image courtesy of Department of Conservation.

Conservation Week 2021 is from Saturday 4 September – Sunday 12 September.

The theme this year is a simple one – “Take a moment to notice nature”.

So get outside and feel connected to the world. It can be as simple as stopping to listen to the birds singing, helping in the garden, walking with the whānau or taking your dog for a walk and noticing the natural world all around us.

But of course, if you’re still at Alert Level 3 or 4, you’ll need to stay in your bubbles and stay safe. BUT there are still loads of activities to help you learn and feel comfortable in nature that you can do at any alert level:

Kids Outside: You can enjoy nature wherever you are. From your window, balcony, backyard or on your local neighbourhood walk.

40 ka pai things to do outside: Getting outside makes us feel good. Rain or shine, there’s heaps of fun you can have right outside your backdoor. From playing hide and seek, to watching the stars and jumping in puddles. Check out the activities in the above link.

Birdwatching with the family: Birdwatching is a great way to discover what is truly special about our natural world and our country. Taking time to get to know the birds around us is a wonderful way to build respect and compassion for nature and all living things. Here’s a handy 10 common birds in your area link to get you started.

Gardening for kids: Getting outside and getting your hands dirty in the soil is so good for you! It also teaches you a love of nature and the environment, where food comes from, how to care for plants, and the joy of reaching a goal. Here are some ideas to get you outside and in the garden.

And here are a couple of nature-based ideas where you can still enjoy the great outdoors, even if you can’t get there in person:

Digital Treasure Hunt Competition: Take a moment to discover nature virtually this Conservation Week with DOC’s Digital Treasure Hunt. The competition is open now and closes 5 pm on 9 September 2021.

Virtual Hub: Take a moment to notice nature:  Enjoy a virtual walk and soak in the views on the Kepler Track, or experience kākāpō and erect-crested penguins through the eyes of DOC rangers and scientists.


Wellington City Libraries have lots of e-resources that you can access right now to help with your nature exploration. Here’s just a few to get you started:

Overdrive cover 101 Small Ways to Change the World, Lonely Planet Kids; Aubre Andrus (ebook)

It’s hard to believe that you could change the world, but it’s true! We’ll show you loads of awesome ways to help out family, friends, yourself and the planet – and show how you’re never too young to make a big difference. Includes random acts of kindness, craft projects, energy-saving ideas and much more.

101 Small Ideas to Change the World is a practical, fun and creative book to inspire you at home, school and in your local community and beyond! Remember, all big ideas start with just one person who decides to do things differently. You could be that person. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, Liz Lee Heinecke (ebook)

Learn physics, chemistry, and biology in your own backyard! In Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, scientist and mom Liz Heinecke has created 52 family-friendly labs designed to get you and yours outside in every season.
From playground physics to backyard bugs, this book makes it fun and easy to dig into the natural sciences and learn more about the world around you (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Wild In the City, Lonely Planet Kids;Kate Baker (ebook)

Discover the secret lives of more than 30 extraordinary creatures that share our cities. From red foxes sneaking rides on London buses to leopards prowling the backstreets of Mumbai, this book explores the clever ways animals have adapted to the urban environment and explains how you can help protect our wild neighbours.

Crammed with buildings, traffic and people, urban spaces are the last place you’d expect to see wildlife. But all kinds of animals live alongside us in the hidden corners of our towns and cities – from teeny ants living under pavement cracks to pick-pocketing monkeys and spotted hyenas being fed by locals. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel Bartholomew (ebook)

Mel Bartholomew’s top-selling Square Foot Gardening books have made his revolutionary garden system available to millions of people.
In Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel reveals his tips, tricks, and fun projects in one of his most cherished pursuits: teaching youngsters to build and grow a SFG of their own.
The easy geometry of the gridded box breaks the complex world of gardening into digestible bites for enthusiastic young learners, and the sequence of tasks required to grow plants from seeds is repeatable and reassuring.
Kids learn many valuable life lessons when tending their own garden — such as the importance of following instructions and doing your chores, basic skills like counting and water conservation, and learning to appreciate the nature of food and why it is important to respect it. Most importantly though, they learn that growing your own food is both fun and rewarding. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Greening Up Spaces, Megan Kopp (ebook)

Creative readers with a green thumb and an eye for design will be inspired to create their own gardening and landscaping projects in unique spaces. From vertical gardens to urban parklets, this title will motivate readers to “green up” spaces in their communities in a way that promotes environmental awareness, collaboration, and group planning. Profiles of innovators and their green creations encourage readers to embrace their own ideas and create their Maker visions. (Overdrive description)



“When Papatūānuku thrives, we all thrive.” 

Department of Conservation

 

Become a RAKtivist: Random Acts of Kindness Day

happy birthday greeting card on green and red textile

Image: Unsplash free images

September 1st is New Zealand’s Random Acts of Kindness Day and we’ve never needed it more than in these Covid times!

Started in New Zealand in 2005, we are the only country in the world that celebrate a National Random Acts of Kindness Day. There is also a World Kindness Day on Saturday 13 November 2021… but let’s make every day a kindness day!

Random Acts of Kindness have probably never been more important, yet have never been harder to do, than when the city is in a lockdown.

Whether you’re in the full Level 4 and can’t even get takeaways delivered to someone, or in a variation of lockdowns which maybe means no school or no shops are open, there are still little random acts of kindness that are doable. Here are just a few ideas:

  •  Chalk positive, happy messages around your neighbourhood
  • Organise FaceTime or Zoom with friends to check in on each other
  • Play online Scrabble or other board games with friends also stuck at home
  • Play a game with your younger brothers and sisters… even if you think it’s a bit boring!
  • Help your caregivers to order some groceries online and have them delivered to a friend or neighbour
  • Offer to make lunch or dinner – maybe even make one night a week your cooking night
  • Pick up rubbish on your neighbourhood walks
  • Make a video of yourself reading a story and send it to your grandparents
  • Offer to do some housework or gardening
  • Tidy your room without being asked
  • Ring a neighbour that you know is isolating on their own, to check that they’re OK
  • Be kind and loving to your pets. Show them you love them with extra pats, a kind voice, small edible treats
  • Give your bubble buddies a compliment and a hug just for being your bubble buddies
  • Bring you parents breakfast in bed one morning for no reason (other than you love them)!
  • Stop for a moment of quiet and appreciate what a great person you are too!

Being kind is good for you!

There are scientifically proven benefits to being kind! It is contagious, teachable, and raises the levels of serotonin – our body’s “feel good” hormone – in your brain. Being kind can also help people to sleep better and feel more healthy.

Websites that might help you with kindness action ideas:

Random Acts of Kindness NZ

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Life Education Trust

Neighbourhood Support

RAK ideas when you can go back to school

Student Volunteer Army for kids

Youth volunteering at City Mission


Wellington City Libraries have a huge collection of books (both physical and digital) that can help with your kindness quest:

Kind / Green, Alison
“Illustrations by prominent illustrators accompany this story on how to make the world a better place through kindness, with an emphasis on welcoming refugees.” (Catalogue)

Do something for someone else / Kirby, Loll
“Meet 12 real-life children spreading kindness with simple acts of everyday activism.” (Catalogue)
All kinds of kindness / Carey Nevin, Judy
“Plant a seed, push a swing. Kindness makes your heart sing. There is so much kindness in the world and this sweet board book celebrates those special differences that make kind acts both individual and similar. Judy Carey Nevin’s bouncing text paired with Susie Hammer’s bright, brilliant art showcases a creative look at how important kindness can be. From optimistic ideas of hope to small acts of goodwill, each scene shares the heart of the story: kindness makes our world a better place.” (Catalogue)


Pete the cat’s groovy guide to kindness : tips from a cool cat on how to be kind / Dean, Kim
“A collection of quotes by famous notables, including Henry James, Booker T. Washington, and Judy Blume, echoes Pete the Cat’s thoughts on kindness.” (Catalogue)
A small kindness / McAnulty, Stacy
“It was like a game of tag, with one small act of kindness spreading throughout a small community of kids and teachers alike. Award-winning children’s book author Stacy McAnulty packs a powerful punch with minimal text, providing a sweet message about all the small ways one can be kind. Illustrator Wendy Leach creates a diverse cast of characters while using colour as a visual cue to how kindness is able to spread, even in a small community like a school” (Catalogue)
The good guys : 50 heroes who changed the world with kindness / Kemp, Rob
“A life-changing book that shows kids it’s cool to be kind. A gloriously illustrated celebration of heroes who have changed the world with kindness and compassion, from David Attenborough to Nelson Mandela, Oskar Schindler to Usain Bolt. What if we celebrated boys for their kindness as well their strength? For their generosity as well as their success? For their loyal friendship as well as their charm? […] The Good Guys celebrates the feats of heroes and everyday men, and will show kids that it really is cool to be kind.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
I like being me : poems about kindness, friendship, and making good choices / Lalli, Judy
“Twenty-five rhyming poems invite children to believe in themselves, learn from mistakes, cooperate, share, help others, solve problems, be kind, tell the truth, make positive choices, and more. The short poems are quick to read, easy to learn, and fun to recite — making them perfect for teaching social skills to young children. Children can memorise their favorite poems, talk about them, act them out, and get ideas for creating their own. Accompanying photographs show children from diverse backgrounds in realistic settings, and back matter provides adults with ideas for thought-provoking discussion, activities, and learning.” (Catalogue)

Kindness grows / Teckentrup, Britta
“It all starts with a crack that we can hardly see, It happens when we shout or if we disagree. But with every kindness that we care to show, something good and magical then begins to grow… Angry words and thoughtlessness cause a crack to open up, but find out what happens when kindness begins to blossom, in this thought-provoking book by award-winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup.” (Catalogue) 

“Everywhere you go, leave a glitter trail of kindness behind you.” (unknown)